3 Steps to Living Through Loss

Are you grieving?

I feel like these days we’re all grieving something – from typical life before COVID, to missed milestones, to people we’ve lost. Regardless of the reason, grief is painful and unwanted. But whether it’s amidst a pandemic or not, loss is a human experience we will all face at some point in our lives.

The key to living through loss is to approach grief with intention.

Alison Armstrong’s world turned upside down when her husband of 26 years passed away suddenly of a heart attack. At the time, she thought her career as a sought-after author and educator was what kept her rooted. She was shocked to discover it was actually her marriage. Her husband was her biggest fan and her most ardent supporter.

Now, nearly two years later, she has a new perspective on loss. Here are her 3 steps to living through loss:

  1. Grief will change you

When we lose something – or someone – close to us, the event signals a ‘before/after” moment we won’t soon forget. That moment thrusts us, for better or worse, into a new reality, and changes us in the process.

That’s why it’s important to recognize that grief will change you – and that’s okay!

When you move through the grieving process you may learn new things about yourself. For example, if you’re let go from your longtime employer, you may discover you were too comfortable in your job and missed opportunities for career growth. What starts out as a loss may reveal a better path forward.

Don’t fight the change – work to embrace it.

  1. Grief will bring you clarity

If you let it, grief can be a powerful clarifier. That’s because hindsight is an invaluable teacher. The little things that bugged you about a loved one seem insignificant when they’re no longer with you. When you embrace clarity, you can focus on the good things about them and use those memories to guide you in future relationships.

Now don’t get me wrong, the grief will hurt.

Aim to move through the pain and commit to what the clarity shows.

This means taking time to identify who you want to be and where you want to go next. Then go there.

  1. Grief doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy life

The last step is to give yourself permission – permission to smile, to laugh, to feel excited again. Go see the latest comedy or book a vacation. As time passes, look for more permanent positives. For example, perhaps your loss will bring about a new passion or hobby you didn’t even know you were missing.

You can still enjoy life – even in the midst of grief.

Being human means living with and through a range of emotions. Grief hurts, but small joys can make it more bearable – and help you practice enjoying your new life.

Living through loss is not only possible, but with intention, you’ll come through it stronger, happier, and healthier than you may imagine at the start.